If you’ve ever jumped out of the way of a falling object, you know how shocking it can be. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos survived certain injury when a 20 lb. tungsten ball came at him in a 6.9 Seattle earthquake. Now that you’re safe, do you even recall what happened, correctly?
You Say You’re Too Busy
The danger is over. Maybe you’ll just go on with your life. But what if someone else was impacted and they bring a complaint forward?
Write it down. Events can get twisted by time, retelling or trauma. Making a written or tape recorded record right away preserves the memory while it is still vivid. When you get to court and can’t remember, these “past recollections” may be used as evidence. They must be reliably recorded while they were fresh in your mind and the original record kept. And that’s where your affidavit comes in.
What Affidavits Are
An affidavit swears, if you are religious, or affirms, if you prefer to not swear, that you “knew it to be true at the time”. It’s a statement of facts (your word of honour) about what you know or evidence you can provide, made in front of someone authorized in Ontario to take oaths.
The Quick Way to Get an Affidavit
If it sounds too complicated, trust us it isn’t. Spelling “affidavit” can be harder than getting one nowadays. Virtual notary publics were just recently approved by the Law Society of Ontario, although some law firms like Axess Law were way ahead of the curve. That means you have no excuses for putting off getting that pesky affidavit. Online remote commissioning has made getting legal documents notarized just that much easier and quicker.
What to Show Your Notary
You’ve decided to make an affidavit after all and have an appointment with a virtual notary. What do you bring? Anything you have to back up your facts:
- receipts or invoices
- witness statements
- or whatever else may be helpful.
Your notary public will go over your e-documents and other evidence with you and help you draft an affidavit for court or a tribunal hearing.
Err on the Side of Caution
Bring more, not less, to your first meeting. That saves your notary time and you money and frustration. If you think it’s important, bring a copy.
Anything Can be Used Against You
Anything in your affidavit may be questioned. Be prepared to speak to the facts and evidence. Going to trial, holding a mediation hearing or even going back and forth by letter all requires you to stand behind what you say.
Be Ready to Respond
Stay organized. Write down or speak to what happened, in the order it occurred. Your notary needs as much information as possible to advise you on the finer points of Ontario law.
What Others Heard
What other people told you about something is called “hearsay”. It can be relevant (or not). One definition is “gossip deliberately passed on.” But then, it wouldn’t be gossip if it wasn’t passed on. You can pass it on to your notary to decide if they can use it. They may ask your witness for a separate affidavit. Be prepared with their name and email or cell phone number.
Are You Sure it Happened That Way?
The problem with hearsay evidence is it’s second hand. When you didn’t witness it yourself, you don’t really know if it happened that way or at all. Courts and tribunals prefer to hear directly from you.
Your Beliefs Get in the Way
You may not think you are biased. But everyone’s beliefs get in the way sometimes. Is what you think making it harder to hear the truth? Check it out with a friend or family member. They may have a different take on your version of events.
When a Conspiracy is Involved
Hearsay can be admitted in some cases. For example, if two or more people conspired to do something, comments made outside a courtroom could be evidence. Business records, documents in someone’s possession or, worst case scenario, a dying declaration that points the finger at a perpetrator can make it into court or a hearing.
Hearsay Evidence Must be Reliable
All in all, hearsay evidence must be reliable enough to, as the Supreme Court of Canada says, “overcome the dangers that arise from the difficulty of testing it”. In other words, it is more likely than not that the statement is truthful or accurate.
Your Affidavit is Emailed to You
Your evidence is reviewed, the affidavit drafted and the legal paperwork e-signed by you and your notary public. The final copy is emailed to you to submit in court or wherever it is needed. In less time than you thought, you are ready to go. Now that was absolutely worth it.
Convenient Day or Evening In Person or Virtual Appointments
When you need an affidavit, Axess Law’s Ontario notary publics offer virtual video call services 7 days a week. Call ahead to 1-877-522-9377 or in Greater Toronto at 647-479-0118 or use our online booking form to make a video call appointment. Notaries can meet with you In person at our Ottawa, Toronto, Scarborough, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland law offices.
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s notary public services.